04/24/06 — Judge decides to support clerk candidate

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Judge decides to support clerk candidate

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on April 24, 2006 1:51 PM

The entry of one judge into the race for Wayne County clerk of court has led another to decide to openly support a candidate.

District Court Judge David Brantley said he has decided to publicly support Pam Minshew for the job.

Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell has endorsed Jo Ann Summerlin for weeks.

Judges traditionally have not campaigned for other courthouse candidates. But officials with the state Judicial Standards Commission have ruled a judge can campaign for a clerk candidate as long as they themselves have made it public that they intend to run for re-election.

Brantley said that given Braswell's endorsement, he felt it only fair that he support Mrs. Minshew. Brantley served as Wayne clerk of court for three terms and supervised and promoted Mrs. Minshew, who is currently assistant clerk. To not back Mrs. Minshew while Braswell is backing Mrs. Summerlin would be unfair to Mrs. Minshew, Brantley said.

Brantley said he has sent a letter to the commission stating his intention to run for re-election at the end of his current term.

Wayne's other two resident judges, Joe Setzer and Rose Williams, said they would continue to follow tradition and stay above the fray. The other three District Court judges who hold court in Wayne, Les Turner, Beth Heath and Lonnie Carraway, live in either Lenoir or Greene counties.

Mrs. Summerlin and Mrs. Minshew are Democrats and will face one another in the May 2 primary. Republicans Randy Winders and Amy Carter Scott are running for clerk of court on the Republican ticket. Early voting has already begun at the county Board of Elections.

The only judge up for re-election this year is Mrs. Heath, a Democrat, and she faces no opposition.

The current Wayne clerk of court, Marshall Minchew, announced last year he would not seek re-election. He is not related to Pam Minshew.

The term of office for clerk of court is four years.